Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 12, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

With the year that was 2021 now done and dusted, the Premier League season is now past its halfway mark.

Although there are likely to be some curveballs thrown at the league in the coming months surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is fair to say that the Premier League season has been a major success. Fans are back, superstar players are firing and we are seeing some of the highest quality football in the history of the competition.

We have arguably the three best teams in the world in Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea who would likely challenge or even win any title.

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Whilst many players have disappointed so far this season, there are many others who have stood up to set their sides up for the latter part of the season. As a result of such performances, a small, selected few are well on their way to earning the real awards at the end of the season.

These awards comprise of Young Player of the Season, Best Player and the Best XI. However, for the sake of these mid-season awards, we will also include the Best Signing and Most Improved Player.

Young Player of the Season - Emile Smith-Rowe

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There are a plethora of candidates here comprising of the likes of Connor Gallagher, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden, but ultimately Smith-Rowe gets the nod. Out of these, Foden is definitely the best player, but since he has missed a lot of games he just misses out.

So far, the Arsenal young gun has scored seven goals and connected for four assists. More impressive than his statistics, however, is the way he has managed to score crucial goals in big games.

His magnificent capacity to be both a playmaker and a finisher sees him as a double threat against any opposition side.

Arsenal’s resurgence to the top four has come from the young winger/attacking midfielder and their resurgence to the heights of English and European football depends on him.

Best Signing - Jose Sa

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The truth is that Aaron Ramsdale deserves this award since he has been simply spectacular for the Gunners, but since he will be given another award below he is out of the equation - leaving Jose Sa as our choice.

However, just because Sa isn’t the first choice doesn’t mean he isn’t a spectacular signing since moving from Olympiacos for $12.8 million.

The Wolves keeper has been a massive part of the Midlands side’s unbelievable record of 14 goals against in 18 games. To put his brilliance into perspective, this is the equal second-best defensive record whilst the boys from The Molineux are just eighth on the table.

All in all, his acrobatics and athleticism have enabled Wolves to keep well out of the relegation zone.

Just as a little indicator of how good he has been, he has the highest save ratio in the league with 80%.

Most Improved - Aaron Ramsdale

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Aaron Ramsdale arrived at the North London club right at the beginning of the season from Sheffield United for $50 million. This move was initially seemingly scoffed at by all pundits, experts, rival fans and even self-sabotaging Arsenal fans.

However, as time has gone on, this has proved to be an absolutely golden signing for the Gunners. Not only has the young Englishman taken over Leno’s spot as first-choice keeper, but he has made himself into one of the best goalkeepers in the league.

Ramsdale is likely to get the honours of save of the season for his breathtaking stop against Leicester City where James Maddison seemed absolutely certain to score.

Most impressive of all, the Arsenal keeper is just 23 years old, meaning he has plenty more to give to the Gunners.

Best Player - Mo Salah

Mo Salah has been the best player in the whole world this season, which makes it a no-brainer to put him as our best player.

So far this season, the Egyptian magician has scored 16 goals and accumulated 10 assists in just 20 games, leading the league in both goals and assists.

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If you want a little cherry on top, he has also scored the best goal of the season in what was arguably the biggest match of the season against City where he bamboozled a world-class defence to provide a sumptuous finish.

Other potential nominees include the likes of Bernardo Silva and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but I don’t think anyone can go against Salah.

Best XI

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham), Rodri (Manchester City)

Forwards: Mo Salah (Liverpool), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham)

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